Located in the south Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, and nestled within the Brazilian Highlands at around 2,575 feet above sea water, you’ll find Uberaba. For some immediate context, there are parts of Sydney which are 3 feet below sea level. So, already we have a clear idea that these two cities, geographically speaking, are rather different.
With a population of around 300,000, Uberaba could be compared to Canberra, falling just shy of their total but again, that’s probably the only way the two cities can be compared.
As it turns out, these are the perfect conditions for a thriving and unique punk rock ecosystem, as we learnt speaking with local band Black Pantera. After forming in 2015, Black Pantera would go on to represent their city both nationally, supporting Slayer, System Of A Down and Green Day, and abroad, taking to the stages of Afropunk Festival and Download Paris.
Black Pantera’s discography has been brief, but full of bite. Since the release of their 2017 album Aggressão, they’ve shared the incredibly powerful single ‘I Can’t Breathe’, which you can check out below.
Growing up as a young punk in Uberaba, what are some of the places you would hang out?
Well the Uberaba scene, I say punk/rocker/headbanger etc, is quite old. When we were younger, for example, there were more specific places where we used to go: Rui Barbosa Square in the centre off the city, the Shopping Uberaba parking lot, the gas station in front of the extinct rock club Athos Pub and Rarus Discos.
How would you describe your typical Uberaba punk?
The typical punk from Uberaba attended all these places (answered in question 1) during his or her teenage years. Some are still there, drinking cheap wine, looking for an underground festival in the back of someone’s home (I miss it) and taking the punk rock philosophy as their life motto.
As an adult, he or she is able to discern even more the world we are in today, whether in the social or individual sphere. Punk and rock certainly provide that, seeing things differently.
How does the general Uberaba community take to punks, and punk music?
Rock has never been the preferred style of music here, whoever plays and gets some space is already somehow a winner, in fact not even in Brazil is rock the most heard style of music.
I think the current moment is better than 10 years ago, for example, despite the pandemic and quarantine. A little earlier, there were more bands coming up and wanting to make their own songs, because the scene in the city had certainly stagnated. We are happy to be part of this. This Revolution in our city and in the Regio.
What are some of the best record shops for punk music in Uberaba, and what makes them special places?
We never had many record stores around here. I remember Rarus Discos, which was in the centre of the city and was a meeting point for the crowd, I think that at the mall there was a store that brought some CDs and records of the time. Tsutaya was the name. There are many Sebos (a store where used books, CDs, vinyl records, magazines and more are sold) and if you planned, it was possible to find several rarities for those who are collectors. And yes, we have some collectors in the city! It is a city in the interior of the state of Minas Gerais with nearly 300,000 inhabitants.
Other than record shops, are there any other locations in the city that are important to its punk rock music community?
The Uberaba scene is more incorporated into the bars and clubs and in the alternative festivals that sporadically took place. In the past it was more frequent and the scene was busier when someone had a party at home, calling some friends to play and driving the neighbourhood crazy. Good times.
Where are some of the best venues for punk rock music?
In Uberaba, if you want to hear a more alternative sound, we have some very good places. Favela Chic: I think that’s the oldest and most traditional rock bar in the city, all Uberaba bands being started or passed there.
Soho Pub, which is based on the pubs of the English scene, certainly moves the good music of the region from Thursday to Sunday. Laboratório 96 which is a national reference for bringing underground bands from all over Brazil and also from outside, has a loyal and interested audience. I would quote these places because they work with live and alternative music until today, and are a meeting point for those who want to hear good and fast (sometimes) music in the city.
Other than Black Pantera, who are some other great punk bands making moves from Uberaba, or Brazil?
Uberaba had many punks and rock bands that made (make) history in the region. I remember bands like Brain Eaters, Thumb Thumbs and Neutral Element…We still have some active as Nekrotério, Valerianos, Uganga, Azul Flamingo, Broken Jazz Society etc.
Although some are more on the side of crossover, trash or even indie bands bring the message – the punk attitude of anti-authority and alternative music in their DNA.
What are your tips for any punks traveling through your hometown?
Good if you come here in our city, when all this is over. Visit the places we mentioned here, feel invited to watch the Black Pantera show, get to know our story, the story of Uberaba. We guarantee you will like it.